Environmentally friendly products: a comprehensive model of consumer buying behaviour

Pollard, Mike (2000) Environmentally friendly products: a comprehensive model of consumer buying behaviour. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, uk.bl.ethos.323555.


This study has attempted to contribute to the advancement of knowledge within the domain of consumer behaviour, and more specifically, to provide a greater understanding of the influences on consumers' intention to purchase environmentally friendly (EF) products. The impetus for this study stems from a general consensus that marketers recognise that green issues will not disappear and that the environment will continue to be a critical business issue. It is furthermore suggested that green marketing is taking shape as one of the key business strategies of the future. At the same time it is true to say that prevailing economic conditions have hindered green marketing efforts. Such findings must be balanced by reports that point out that although the popularity of environmentalism has declined, consumers are still concerned about this issue. However studies on the subject appear to be largely descriptive and narrow in focus, i.e. propositions appear to be based on personal experiences and inductive augmentation. Furthermore, most of the literature is either simplistic in its conception or lacks clear/robust conceptual frameworks, and consequently the generalisability of the findings are in question. Therefore, there is a paucity of theoretically sound and empirically substantiated information regarding the influences on consumers' intention to buy EF products. Accordingly, the main aim of this research is the development and testing of a comprehensive model of consumers' intention to purchase EF products. In order to fulfil this aim, the research is grounded in a well established theoretical model, i.e. the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), which, including past experience, formed the core of the proposed model. The TPB has been augmented by three influences identified in extant literature, i.e. social and cultural, company and marketing and experiential. Given the wide diversity of EF products available the scope of the study was narrowed to the clothes washing detergent product segment of the household cleaning market. Twelve hypotheses were formulated and a complex research process (comprising of four surveys and a sample of 300 members of the Co op supermarket chain) extending over a period of fourteen months was designed and undertaken to apply/test the proposed model. Overall the research makes the following theoretical and managerial contributions to the theory and practice of consumer behaviour within the EF products domain. Theoretical contributions: This thesis offers a comprehensive model of consumers' intention to purchase EF products. More specifically, in attempting to develop more appropriate measures of environmental consciousness (EC), this research has uncovered a more complex, than initially defined structure of this construct. In addition, existing conceptualisations of measures of EC have been expanded through the introduction of another facet, i.e. 'future environmental problems' and the boundary conditions of the TPB have been tested. Managerial contributions: This research has provided a set of broadly defined managerial guidelines that practitioners can use to gain a better understanding of the green consumer. Finally, it is believed that the research presented here has made an original contribution to the scholarly study and literate on consumer behaviour. More specifically, it has provided a theoretically supported model on consumers' intention to purchase EF products.

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